Dubai's Disneyland? World's largest theme park opens its doors

World's biggest indoor theme park to open in Dubai

IMG Worlds of Adventure is Dubai's answer to America's Disneyland - except the entire theme park is inside.

That's its unique selling point - a cool place to have fun away from the scorching heat.

CEO Lennard Otto says: "Today Dubai still suffers from a certain amount of seasonality during the June, July, August period. We will hopefully drive tourism during those periods to create Dubai as an all-year round destination."

See also: Ten things you never knew you could do in Dubai

See also: Weird theme parks around the world

The $1 billion complex opens at the end of the month - two years late, thanks to construction problems.

It'll be the world's biggest indoor theme park, split into zones made up of Marvel characters, the Cartoon Network and the Lost Valley.

"Every world has its own story and its own feel to it," says Otto. "Whether you dine in one of the restaurants where you would have seen your favourite movie and super hero actor sitting in or your favourite cartoon network actor."

IMG hopes to attract 4.5 million visitors in its first year - generating over $400 million in revenue, but it'll have plenty of competition.

A park - run by the state - is due to open in Dubai at the end of the year.

Another with attractions based on the "Ice Age" and "The Simpsons" is planned for 2020.

And neighbour Saudi Arabia is also trying to cash in on the growing popularity of theme parks.

It's planning to build one as it attempts to diversify its economy away from oil.

World's weirdest amusement parks
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World's weirdest amusement parks

The main theme here is the Passion of Christ, which is re-enacted daily in pretty graphic detail. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's linked to an evangelist TV station. The can experience the atmosphere of the day when you wander through a re-created Jerusalem street market and, if theology's your thing, there's a 30-minute interpretation of Jesus' crucifixion at Calvary's Garden Tomb.

Dolly Parton is no dumb blonde - in fact, she's the biggest employer in Tennessee on account of her Dollywood theme park. Like Dolly herself, it's bold and brash and features spectaculars based entirely around her own songs. There's a Dolly museum and a Dollywood Express steam train as well as white-knuckle rides. And if you happen to be proportioned like the busty warbler, there's a chance to buy her clothes in Dolly’s Closet shop.

If you find yourself in Beijing, don't miss the opportunity to see the world's largest chocolate replica of the Great Wall of China. If that's not enough to set your tastebuds tingling, check out the life-size replica army of chocolate terracotta warriors, chocolate flowers and a chocolate car.


You could be forgiven for thinking you'd walked into a surreal dream when you enter Dwarf Empire. Techno music blasts out across the attraction as dozens of dwarves dressed as medieval soldiers, butterflies, cooks and hiphoppers parade around. The Empire has its 'king', too, who emerges to rapturous applause from the spectators. It doesn't get much more bizarre than this!

If you like your amusement parks oppressive and heavyweight, don't miss Grutas Park (unofficially known as Stalin's World) in Lithuania - a sculpture garden of statues representing the Communist Soviet era. Grey stone representations of Stalin, Marx, and Lenin are amongst the featured 'attractions'. It may be far from fun, but it has a certain historical interest.

Keen on Hello Kitty? You'd better be if you're planning to visit this somewhat bizarre tribute to the much-loved cat character. There are spinning teacups, a ferris wheel, numerous parades and stage shows, all dedicated to Japan's favourite feline. Maybe Kittyland would have been a more appropriate name for this attraction...?

If you're looking for a new thrill, how about dangling yourself in the tank of a man-eater-size croc? This crocodile park is right in the middle of Darwin's main bar and restaurant strip. You can hold and feed the babies or, if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, enter the Cage of Death, where you're lowered into a real croc's enclosure in an acrylic, see-through box.

Also known as Haw Par Villa, Tiger Balm Garden depicts the myths and legends of China in the most gory, bloodthirsty ways. It's certainly not for the fainthearted, especially the Ten Courts of Hell, featuring graphic 3D dioramas of punishments for misdemeanours, with money-lenders being thrown on to a hill of knives, tenants who default on the rent being pounded with a mallet and exam cheats having their intestines pulled out. Pass the sick bag, please.

Looking for a little titillation? This explicitly adult-only exhibition is dedicated to love, relationships and sexual wellbeing. There are nine different 'zones' to explore, with interactive animatronics. We'll let you discover more for yourselves.

There are over 60 activities on offer here, some of them with slightly questionable themes: the dog fart switchback, for example - and this in addition to vomiting rats, lactating cows, and urinating ants! You can ride 'the prawn' and the 'wild boar'; try the gull-pat bikes, visit cowboy town and witness the spectacle of the indoor sealion show. There's a special circus during school summer holidays, too. 

The Shijingshan Amusement Park in Beijing uses the slogan 'Disneyland is too far' to attract visitors to the quirky theme park. Here you'll find a replica of Cinderella's Castle, staff dressed like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In 2007, Shijingshan's deputy general manager Yin Zhiqiang told the AP: 'We do not have any agreements with Disney. The characters in our park just look a little bit similar to theirs.'

Located in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire, Diggerland is a where adults and children have the chance to ride and drive real construction machinery. No driving licence is required and you'll find some kid-friendly rides made from dump trucks, cranes and diggers owned by JCB. One of the coolest attractions is the Dancing Diggers, where you can see machines dancing!

If you've ever wanted to know what plague-ridden, sewage-filled 19th century London was like, visit Dickens World in Chatham, Kent. It was designed to highlight the life and times of Charles Dickens and the theme park features one of Europe's largest dark boat rides, a Victorian school room and the Haunted House of Ebenezer Scrooge. A visit here is sure to make the kids appreciate everything they've got!

Vietnam's Suoi Tien Amusement Park is a Buddhist-themed water park, which was created to simulate Buddhist heaven. It's filled with god-like statues, including a one-acre round giant frog and a huge dragon head, an aquarium with 1,500 crocodiles (symbols of victory) and a Secrets of the Sorcerers Jungle with evil ogres, monsters and scorpions.

The sex-themed Love Land in South Korea opened in 2004 as a way to teach Korean newlyweds about conjugal love. Located on Cheju Island, which has been a longtime hotspot for honeymooners, the theme park attracts curious couples who come to browse the 140 amorous sculptures, watch sex-ed films and see exlicit exhibitions. There's even an interactive self-pleasuring bicycle with feathers on its wheel! Definitely not a place to bring the kids.


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